15 MARCH TO 12 MAY
Curated by Mark Lanctôt, MACM Curator
Organized and circulated by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal with the support of the Museums Assistance Program at Canadian Heritage
Opening Reception Thursday 14 March at 8 pm
To say that the paintings of Montreal based artist Pierre Dorion are Minimalist works only tells one side of the story; to say that they are objective Realist paintings also tells just one side. But they are both; they also are imbued with sentiments of loss, memory, presence, and an ambiguous unreality that actually is based on the artist’s own photographs.
From the very beginning of his career, Pierre Dorion has had a strong interest in art history, and he attracted early critical attention with installation work that took an analytical look at the styles and subject matter of classical painting. Then, after producing a series of large-scale self-portraits in the 1990s, his gaze turned to architectural and other manufactured spaces, and gradually he developed a more graphic style of working that resulted in his paintings becoming increasingly spare, ultimately achieving a kind of figurative Minimalism. Unmediated by inflection and painterly gesture, Dorion’s depiction of the specific locations selected and framed in his initial photographs confound the viewer’s sense of scale and perspective. Through his careful use of close detail and flat viewpoints, the walls, corners and features (such as doors, windows, ledges) of his ‘scenes’ become pure fields of line, colour and shading: the formal elements of Abstraction.
Another important and enduring aspect of Dorion’s practice is his interest in the way that paintings occupy space—both the architectural space of where they are located, and the personal space of the viewer. Rather than presenting a chronological unfolding of the thirty works in this exhibition, from 1994 to 2012, the installation strategy echoes the works’ compositions, and emphasizes the relationships between the paintings’ subject matter and the context in which we see them.
Pierre Dorion was born in Ottawa in 1959. He lives and works in Montréal. Since graduating from the University of Ottawa in 1981, he has exhibited regularly in Montréal and New York, as well as across Canada and Europe.
Stack , 2003
Collection: Todd and Natalka Sharman
Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay